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There are great benefits to connectedness, but we haven't wrapped our minds around the costs.

the sunlit path
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:37 am EDT, Oct 31, 2014

Richard Hamming:

If you do not work on an important problem, it's unlikely you'll do important work.

Eric Schmidt and Jared Cohen:

What Lockheed Martin was to the twentieth century, technology and cyber-security companies will be to the twenty-first.

Swift on Security:

Maybe computer security for the average person isn't a series of easy steps and absolutes they discard from our golden mouths of wise truths to spite the nerd underclass.

Perhaps it's the very design of General Purpose Computing. And who built this world of freedom? You did. We did.

So whose fault is it?

Melinda Gates:

Let your heart break. It will change what you do with your optimism.

Tim Cook:

We pave the sunlit path toward justice together, brick by brick. This is my brick.

at best random and at worst rigged
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:36 am EDT, Oct 31, 2014

Claude Fischer:

Our ideology of being the exceptional land of opportunity is a hangover from a time when it was true -- but is no more.

The Economist's Washington Correspondent:

I thought I was unlucky graduating into the tech bust. I had no idea. Of course, the past ten years hasn't been lost in the way that the next ten years might be.

Alice Gregory:

I have spent my entire adult existence in a recession. The stock market crashed when I was a senior in college. I belong to a microgeneration whose moneymaking life has taken place in a pessimistic, alarmist era strewn with the detritus of failed, deliberately convoluted financial instruments. Like most people I talk to, I assume the forces that control the market are at best random and at worst rigged.

Michael Osinski:

When you're close to the money, you get the first cut. Oyster farmers eat lots of oysters, don't they?


We're in a bad part of the cycle of human society. You and I are young enough that we'll see the other side of it, but we'll be old when we do.

the verbal equivalent of being tickled while crying
Topic: Miscellaneous 7:36 am EDT, Oct 31, 2014

Jake Norwood, on Longpoint:

It's a kind of prep school meets biker gang vibe.

Bill Roorbach, on The Luminaries:

It's a lot of fun, like doing a Charlotte Brontë-themed crossword puzzle while playing chess and Dance Dance Revolution on a Bongo Board.

Johnny Hwin, on British Airways UnGrounded:

It's like we're all just getting drunk together, but also really talking about interesting policy initiatives.

Molly Young, on the work of A.L. Kennedy:

Sentences like this pop up often, and reading them feels like the verbal equivalent of being tickled while crying.

know that we are righteous and dwell in the light
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:44 am EDT, Oct 26, 2014

Nicole Flatow:

Chief U.S. District Judge Marsha Pechman pointed out that the Second Amendment protects the right to bear arms -- not the right to use them -- and that the officers "grossly misconstrued" the Fourth Amendment when they claimed that it protects them, and not individuals who would be the subjects of police force or seizures.

Joseph Bottum:

America is filled with people frantically seeking confirmation of their own essential goodness. We are a nation of individuals desperate to stand on the side of morality -- anxious to know that we are righteous and dwell in the light.

U.S. 9th Circuit Court Chief Judge Alex Kozinski:

Executions are, in fact, brutal, savage events, and nothing the state tries to do can mask that reality. Nor should we. If we as a society want to carry out executions, we should be willing to face the fact that the state is committing a horrendous brutality on our behalf.

Timothy Noah:

Violent crime has fallen by 44 percent in America over the past two decades, but during that same period the prison population has more than doubled.

FBI Director James Comey:

I believe people should be skeptical of government power. I am.

an ersatz nostalgia for paths not taken
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:29 am EDT, Oct 25, 2014

Dr. Phillip Metzger:

The mountains have all been climbed, the continents explored, and the romance of sailing away on a tall ship to undiscovered islands is no more. What will fire the imaginations of the next generation?

Sophia Nguyen:

It's easy to think of motivated blindness and institutional inertia as something that happens only to others.

Alvaro Serrano:

If you aim to create a revolution, you must be willing to part with the existing preconceptions that are holding your competitors back. Only then will you be able to take a meaningful leap forward.

Marina Benjamin:

I am acutely aware of the threshold at which my daughter stands today. I want to wave at her in sympathy and recognition, and assure her it will turn out well. I want to tell her that on the other side of this difficult transition there will be freedoms and experiences she's never dreamt of, as well as new heights of confidence and competence. There will be deep friendships and deeper loves, the rollercoaster of university life and first jobs, independent travel, opportunities at every turn. I want to tell her that her dreams will become tangible. That her fears will drift into obscurity. That she will feel invincible.

But then I am overcome by a terrible sadness for my own lost opportunities, and by an ersatz nostalgia for paths not taken -- a missing, if you like, of what I never had, and a misplaced anxiety about all the future paths I shall never take, because with middle age comes a shrinking sense of the possible. Since half of me is lost in undifferentiated yearning for what might have been, I'm often unable to reassure my daughter with the right level of conviction. If I am to succeed in this task, I must first let go of my ghostly younger selves -- the grown-up version of putting away childish things.

Doris Lessing:

What's terrible is to pretend that second-rate is first-rate. To pretend that you don't need love when you do; or you like your work when you know quite well you're capable of better.

the omelette is not in sight
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:29 am EDT, Oct 25, 2014

Isaiah Berlin:

If these ultimate human values by which we live are to be pursued, then compromises, trade-offs, arrangements have to be made if the worst is not to happen.

You must believe me, one cannot have everything one wants -- not only in practice, but even in theory. The denial of this, the search for a single, overarching ideal because it is the one and only true one for humanity, invariably leads to coercion. And then to destruction, blood -- eggs are broken, but the omelette is not in sight, there is only an infinite number of eggs, human lives, ready for the breaking. And in the end the passionate idealists forget the omelette, and just go on breaking eggs.

Joshua Green on President Obama:

The crisis required more of him than he seemed to recognize. But he was hampered by the same things that have plagued him all along: a liberal technocrat's excess of faith in government's ability to solve problems and an unwillingness or inability to demonstrate the forcefulness Americans expect of their president in an emergency.

Frank Chimero:

Continually attempting to manage too much isn't the mark of grace, it's the sign of a dumbass.

Steve Jobs:

How many things have you said no to?

they couldn't absorb the truth, and didn't want to
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:28 am EDT, Oct 25, 2014

Rory Stewart:

"Transparent, predictable, and accountable financial practices" were not a solution to corruption; they were simply a description of what was lacking. But policymakers never realized how far from the mark they were. This is partly because most of them were unaware of even a fraction of the reality described in Anand Gopal's book. But it was partly also that they couldn't absorb the truth, and didn't want to. The jargon of state-building, "capacity-building," "civil society," and "sustainable livelihoods" seemed conveniently ethical, practical, and irrefutable. And because of fears about lost lives, and fears about future terrorist attacks, they had no interest in detailed descriptions of failure: something had to be done, and failure was simply "not an option."

We invested $100 billion a year, deployed 130,000 international troops, and funded hundreds of thousands of Sunni Arab militiamen. And the problem has returned, six years later, larger and nastier.

Adam Piore:

About 57 percent of Americans reported buying lottery tickets in the last 12 months, according to a recent Gallup study.

Misha Lepetic:

And so we have turned a full circle of cartographic irony: from speculative maps that included places that never existed, to objective maps that show us places that no longer exist, but pretend as if they do.

Dexter Filkins:

At a meeting in early October, 2001, the lead Iranian negotiator stood up and slammed a sheaf of papers on the table. "If you guys don't stop building these fairy-tale governments in the sky, and actually start doing some shooting on the ground, none of this is ever going to happen!" he shouted. "When you're ready to talk about serious fighting, you know where to find me." He stomped out of the room.

At one point, the lead negotiator handed Crocker a map detailing the disposition of Taliban forces. "Here's our advice: hit them here first, and then hit them over here. And here's the logic." Stunned, Crocker asked, "Can I take notes?" The negotiator replied, "You can keep the map."

Azan Ahmed:

The Taliban are back, but the cavalry will not be coming.

In new figures released this week, the Defense Ministry said that 950 soldiers had been killed from March to August, the worst rate of the 13-year war. The police, the first line of defense against most attacks, have registered even more devastating numbers: 2,200 dead during the same period, also a record.

an irrepressible eagerness to combat the diffusion of false and misleading ideas
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:12 pm EDT, Oct 20, 2014

David Bromwich:

We have acquired an irrepressible eagerness to watch the lives of others. We pay to be the spectators of our own loss of privacy.


One must assume that all garbage is monitored by the state. Anything less would be a pre-9/11 mentality.

Paul Lewis and Dominic Rushe:

The trend toward anonymity in social media has some privacy experts concerned about security.

Ajit Pai:

Hmm. A government-funded initiative is going to "assist in the preservation of open debate" by monitoring social media for "subversive propaganda" and combating what it considers to be "the diffusion of false and misleading ideas"?

Anna Sauerbrey:

The German voter-consumer will always trust the state more than he will any private company, no matter how ardently it insists on being a good guy.

Landon Fuller:

If you've upgraded to Mac OS X Yosemite (10.10) and you're using the default settings, each time you start typing in Spotlight (to open an application or search for a file on your computer), your local search terms and location are sent to Apple and third parties (including Microsoft).

Craig Timberg:

Apple has chosen to not alert users when the [Yosemite] operating system itself transmits their locations, as Spotlight now does. Apple officials said that too many notifications could de-sensitize users.

gone are the burdens of ownership
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:11 pm EDT, Oct 20, 2014

Cora Currier:

The simplest way to avoid physical tracking of your cellphone by ad networks is to turn off your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when out walking around.

Evgeny Morozov:

When, in 1975, Stafford Beer argued that "information is a national resource," he was ahead of his time in treating the question of ownership -- just who gets to own the means of data production, not to mention the data? -- as a political issue that cannot be reduced to its technological dimensions.

Taylor Swift:

I have to stop myself from thinking about how many aspects of technology I don't understand.

Evgeny Morozov:

Now any aspiring startup can rely on Verizon's infrastructure of ubiquitous connectivity and geolocational tracking to match supply and demand, with Verizon itself providing lucrative verification and locking services. Verizon hopes to eventually extend this model far beyond cars, making it possible to swap any other items fitted with an electronic lock: power drills, laptops, apartments. Verizon -- hardly a Silicon Valley pioneer -- thus joins many other champions of the "sharing economy" in insisting that "people today are embracing a sharing society -- the one that allows them to get what they want on demand". Gone are the burdens of ownership!

Katie Hetter:

A federal investigation of the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville found that Marriott employees had used "containment features of a Wi-Fi monitoring system" at the hotel to prevent people from accessing their own personal Wi-Fi networks.

Eric Schmidt:

If your strategy is to prevent your customer from leaving you, you probably shouldn't have had those customers in the first place.

how much they consume
Topic: Miscellaneous 11:10 pm EDT, Oct 20, 2014

B. Lynn Ingram, a professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Berkeley:

We are on track for having the worst drought in 500 years.

James Hamblin:

Eighty-two percent of the world's almonds come from California.

Each almond requires 1.1 gallons of water to produce.

Despite the severe drought, as of June 30, California's Department of Agriculture projected that almond farmers will have their largest harvest to date.

Eduardo Porter:

Despite California's distress, about half of the homes in the capital, Sacramento, still don't have water meters, paying a flat fee no matter how much water they consume. Farmers in California's Imperial Irrigation District pay $20 per acre-foot, less than a tenth of what it can cost in San Diego. San Diego is building the nation's biggest desalination plant to produce fresh water at a cost of about $2,000 per acre-foot. But alfalfa growers in Southern California last year used hundreds of billions of gallons growing alfalfa that might fetch at best $340 a ton, or $920 per acre-foot of water.

Rory Stewart:

"It's like they're coming in and saying to you, 'I'm going to drive my car off a cliff. Should I or should I not wear a seatbelt?' And you say, 'I don't think you should drive your car off the cliff.' And they say, 'No, no, that bit's already been decided -- the question is whether to wear a seatbelt.' And you say, 'Well, you might as well wear a seatbelt.' And then they say, 'We've consulted with policy expert Rory Stewart and he says ...'"


Sometimes the market drives off a cliff.

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